Ballgame in Mexico

The ballgame was an important part of the daily life of several civilizations. Many courts have been excavated and you can visit them at several archaeological sites in México and Central America. One of the most famous and the biggest ever built is

The ballgame was an important part of the daily life of several civilizations. Many courts have been excavated and you can visit them at several archaeological sites in México and Central America. One of the most famous and the biggest ever built is in Chichen Itza.

The ballgame was played differently by each civilization. The basic ideas and concept were nonetheless identical.

The game was played by 2 teams of players with a hard rubber ball which could weight up to 8 pounds. The court varied in dimensions, but they all were built as a sunken or walled lineal court. The biggest court can be visited in Chichen Itza (545 Feet long, 70 meters wide). The goal of the game was to pass the ball through stone rings which were on each side of the court by only using the hips.

The ballgame was not only the first organized game in sport history, dating back for 3,500 years, but has also an important religious meaning as it represents the struggles between the Gods of the underworld and the sky or the battle between the day and the night. It is widely accepted that the winner team received praises and honors. For the losers, the outcome was more dramatic. In certain cases they were sacrificed. It is a possibility that some balls were made applying the rubber around the skulls of players.

After the arrival of the Spanish, the ballgame was forbidden by the conquistador as a pagan ceremony. But the game survived and continues to be played in central Mexico. Ball courts were discovered in the sites of many civilizations including the Olmec, Maya, Toltec and Aztec. The scared Maya book Popol Vuh describes in particular the story of the ballgame played by the twin heroes Xbalamque and Hunahpu.